Yesterday I arrived off a plane from Dubai and went straight to work. Once there, I worked for a number of hours and then went home. Once unpacked, I was put to work on pairing socks by a wife who had clearly missed me. This task was deemed menial enough to put me in my place, and also simple enough for my feeble and jet-lagged brain to cope with. So I sat on the bed and had Chateau L's clean sock assortment dumped before me, and set about my task with not exactly gusto, but minor enthusiasm as this was somewhere I felt I could really add value. Yes, it is self-evaluation season at work as it happens. I picked up a bright yellow sock - easy - and set about hunting for its partner.
Nowhere. Frustrated at my lack of progress, I put this to one side and aimed for a pink one. Ah yes, and there's another pink one! But they're different lengths, and have a slightly different weave (very technical this sock business). Discarding this one, pleased at not having been fooled, I searched for the other two pink ones that I knew must be buried somewhere in the pile - I don't miss a trick me.
I found five, and none of them matched. What the? I went down the colour route at this point, making little sub-piles of socks, and was thus able to do a good few pairs. At this point I'd like to state that little girls' white school socks are a complete nightmare, and everything you thought you knew about sock-pairing is completely useless when faced with 30+ small highly-similar white socks. I persevered, but it was soon apparent that the task was beyond me. At this point Mrs L came to gloat. I complained that they were all odd, and that I had paired everything I could. Yes I know came her response. But what about this one I queried, dangling a sparkly black number with hippos on it. Oh, that's been in the pile for a while. Really? Shows how much domesticity has been coming my way of late, but per Mrs L, this is a problem that has been brewing for many months. No kidding. Do you know how many odd socks we have? I counted, and we have 86. It was 88 but consummate skill reduced it by two earlier this evening following a second stab.
86!!! How is that even possible that we have that many socks in the first place? They are of every flavour and variety, from lurid pink to dull grey. From thick and woolly to thin and cottony. And not one matches. Does this mean that there are 86 more socks hiding in the house? Per the children there are not, but a quick inspection soon proved this to be a whopping great lie. Nonetheless, the recent finds do not in any way add up to nearly a hundred. There are doubtless more behind beds, stuffed in corners, and likely yet more still working their way through the system. There is also the real possibility that buried within sock drawers are unmatched pairs, but the only real answer to this whole conundrum is to fastidiously go round the house picking up every sock, clean or dirty, paired or unpaired, washing the whole lot and then starting from scratch. Neither Mrs L nor I have the willpower necessary to accomplish this feat, so I suggested simply chucking them all out for a neat resolution to the problem. How many odd socks are there now? Ahhhh, none! However this approach has been vetoed, so for now we've done what has apparently been done for the last eighteen months or more and shoved them all back at the bottom of the ironing basket for another futile session on another day. Real life, you can't beat it.
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